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Help...Creating/Updating/Fixing a small business network


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#1 ctrevino

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:30 AM

** It’s a big question but I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask **

I just started working at a company and have a good challenge ahead of me. I have been asked to make our network setup more robust and create a DRP. I lack the experience with working with such a large network and what I inherited is mess. Also it is a basically a 24/7 manufacturing company so downtime has to be minimal, so there is no room to "try stuff". The current IT guy has just maintained it but not improved it since the last IT guy. We have two location sites each with their own domain and joined by a direct fiber line. The servers and their main functionality is as follows:

 

*****************************************

Physical Servers Site 1 Domain 1

 

Server 1 – Windows 2003 – Citrix

Server 2 – Windows 2003 - Citrix

Server 3 – Windows 2000 - Domain Controller, File Server, Terminal Server License Manager

Server 4 – Windows 2003 - WatchGuard Firewall

Server 5 – Windows 2008 - File Server, Outbound EDI

Server 6 – Window 2003 - Exchange 2007

Server 7 – Domain Controller, E-mail gateway (Anti-Spam)

Server 8 – Windows 2000 – Domain Controller, File Server

 

VMWare Machine

Virtual Server 1 – Windows 2000 - ERP Software

Virtual Server 2 – CentOs - ERP Software

  • Note: Virtualized only after the physical server failed (caused many problems)

*****************************************

Physical Server Site 2 Domain 2

 

Server 1 – Windows 2003 – Domain Controller, File Server

Server 2 – Windows 2003 – File Sever, Finance Database

Server 3 – Windows 2008 – Domain Controller, File Server, Printer Server

 

We are not a large company and only have 140 computer users that require access to our network. Thirteen servers is just too much. Most of our servers are extremely old and should be replaced. But I would like a better setup instead of replacing 13 of them. We do have some limitations because some of our software’s will not run on newer operating systems but I feel there is still room for improvement. I would like to present a new setup up to management and buy a fewer servers and start combining functionality. Also our VMs are very new and are underutilized. Before I got hired nothing was even documented at least I have been able to put in writing what we have. But still a long road to go. If anyone here can advise on what I should do I would truly appreciate it. My first thought is create a virtual domain controller but the IT guy here says it would cause too many problems and that they should not be virtualized. I wanted to purchase a new server for a domain controller and have it double as a file server (too combine functionalities and decommission a few servers) and again the IT guy here says domain controllers should not be file servers. Or domain controllers should not host exchange. Like I said I just started and he has been here for 7 years and is much more familiar with “his” systems and with no downtime allowed I hesitate to make changes.



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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:37 AM

Quoting: http://searchenterprisewan.techtarget.com/definition/disaster-recovery-plan

 

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) - sometimes referred to as a business continuity plan (BCP) or business process contingency plan (BPCP) - describes how an organization is to deal with potential disasters. Just as a disaster is an event that makes the continuation of normal functions impossible, a disaster recovery plan consists of the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs; it may also include a significant focus on disaster prevention.

 

end quoting http://searchenterprisewan.techtarget.com/definition/disaster-recovery-plan

 

Without some downtime, the above will be difficult to design, implement and maintain.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

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Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#3 RolandJS

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:41 AM

"...Like I said I just started and he has been here for 7 years and is much more familiar with “his” systems and with no downtime allowed I hesitate to make changes..."

If nothing important or of any consequence is going to be changed, then, the company will continue getting what they have been getting.  I hope you will be allowed to make changes, else, resume time?


Edited by RolandJS, 20 May 2015 - 12:11 PM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#4 ctrevino

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:48 AM

Before I throw in the towel I would like to try to make a difference. What I would like is some advice on how to proceed and how to go about making changes with minimal downtime. I understand its a challenge but I am sure I am not unique in this situation.



#5 Wand3r3r

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 03:01 PM

There is a huge area for improvement concerning this network.  This network is at least 10 years out of date.  That creates vulerablities that should be of serious concern.

 

You don't mention how the two sites are connected physically.  Everything needs to happen in a chain of events.  Planning a DRP or BCP is a bit premature if you don't have any fault tolerance built into the system.  Beyond backups and that you have dual DC's and [hopefully] raided drives, I am not seeing any fault tolerance in the system hardware or software wise.

 

First issue I would address is security.  Replace the email spam filter and software firewall with an appliance with subscriptions.  We use Sonicwall and have their email and antivirus subscriptions. This offloads a lot of maintenance [no updates required]. This will eliminate one server all together and take a load off the a DC.

 

You should give serious consideration, now that you are moving to virtualization, to bringing up a SAN.  Doing single server VM's is kind of pointless.  You need shared storage and a SAN is the best way of doing this.  With a SAN you can build redundancy into the system in case of storage or server failure.

 

You may find [check with manufacturer] that you can virtualize your older software/server OS.  This would give you some breathing room while they consider upgrades/replacement of this aging software.

 

There are no issues with virtualizing the DC's.  We have no physical DCs.  But again the best way is with shared storage.

 

Lots of other things to address but the biggest issue is getting Fiscal Services on board.  Servers should be replaced on a three-four year schedule.  The same with Server OS's and software.  FS needs to plan financially for this.  This isn't an area that is a "set it and forget it".  Find out how much it costs them in revenue for each hour the system is down and they will begin to realize what they need to consider.


Edited by Wand3r3r, 20 May 2015 - 06:28 PM.





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